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Alleged online attacker is police chief's son 0

Doug Hempstead, Multimedia Journalist
Ottawa Sun

By Doug Hempstead, Ottawa Sun

President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, Anne-Marie Roy was the victim of vicious online sexual harassment. She became aware of an online conversation between other student executives about her. She spoke out Sunday, March 2, 2014 about the comments, which were made public Friday, Feb. 28, 2014.
JESSIE ARCHAMAULT/OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY

President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, Anne-Marie Roy was the victim of vicious online sexual harassment. She became aware of an online conversation between other student executives about her. She spoke out Sunday, March 2, 2014 about the comments, which were made public Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. JESSIE ARCHAMAULT/OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY

The son of a former Ottawa deputy police chief is one of the U of Ottawa students allegedly involved in sending vicious sexual online messages to the student association president.

Alex Larochelle is one of the four university student execs who resigned over the weekend following allegations he took part in the incident involving Anne-Marie Roy.

His father is Gilles Larochelle, now the police chief in Kingston.

In a statement provided to local media Tuesday Gilles Larochelle and his wife Tessa Youngson-Larochelle, an Ottawa police inspector, said their son made a terrible mistake.

"We stand with our son as his words do not reflect his true character or values. He knows how wrong it was to make the comments and to participate in such a conversation. Response to his words has been wide spread and social comments have vilified him. Alexandre made a mistake that he has apologized for and resigned from a position he was very committed to. He regrets the hurt he has caused. We ask you to give him the chance to learn and make amends. This is a family matter now and we will not comment further."

The vicious posts included comments like "someone punish her with their shaft" and even suggested Roy had STDs. There was also discussion of sexual encounters in exchange for booze.

Larochelle and Patrick Marquis both student execs resigned Saturday in an e-mail to Roy. Two others, Michel Fournier-Simard and Alexandre Giroux, resigned Sunday.

Three local sexual assault groups insist rape culture exists on campuses and beyond and is calling on those involved in a recent online attack to be part of the solution.

According to the university's sexual harassment policy, which is posted online, disciplinary action can include "an apology, reprimand, transfer, suspension, expulsion or dismissal," which depends on factors including the seriousness of the incident and any other mitigating factors.

Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women Safer Campuses Project spokeswoman Dillon Black calls on the men to be part of a "much-needed" dialogue about rape culture.

"You have hurt women in Ottawa, because every single one of us who read your conversation felt the fear we often feel as women in this culture," she and other representatives said in a statement.

"You reminded us that we are not safe on our campuses, we are not safe on transit, we are not safe in our homes, we are not safe with strangers, and we are not safe with men we know."

doug.hempstead@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @DougHempstead


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